What a strange season it was for the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets won 50 games for the first time since in 20 years –Â that wasÂ 1988 for those of you not feeling the math. Yet, it was only good enough for the 8th seed in the increasingly strong andÂ deepÂ Western Conference, and it led to the most disappointing playoffs in the past 5 seasons – a sweep by the Finals-bound Lakers.
So, after a quick exit, the Nuggets brass (should) be looking to change things up and get things moving in a better direction to close the gap with the top teams in the West – namely, the Lakers, Spurs, Jazz, and Hornets. Take the Mavericks for example – just three years ago in the Finals, then knocked out in the first round the past two years. Other than the Spurs, few teams have been able to stay in the top echelon of the West for long. The Nuggets have great ownership at the moment – at least an owner that’s willing to spend top dollar on the team on the court, so they need to try to maximize what they have to vault themselves up into the top 4 teams. Let’s talk trade rumors…
June 6th – Boston guard Sam Cassell told the Rocky Mountain News before Game 1 of the Finals he “definitely will talk” to the Nuggets when he becomes a free agent on July 1.
Cassell wants to play one more season before getting into coaching, and he believes Nuggets coach George Karl can help.
“George is a hell of a coach, and he’s also a good friend,” said Cassell, who played for Karl in Milwaukee. — Rocky Mountain News
My take on Sam Cassell. Pass – I would have been up for it at the start of last season, but he’s just not been able to bring much to the Celtics. Rondo gets the majority of the minutes and sometimes Cassell has backed him up, but journeyman Eddie House has been getting just as much play as the backup as Cassell has.
June 9th – Jermaine O’Neal to Denver for Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin: All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson need a sidekick in Denver who can score in the low post. Camby will block shots and rebound — 13.3 a game last season. Martin’s injury problems — he played only two games in the 2006-07 season — and his contract — three more years with a player option on the third year — could worry the Pacers.
My take – no way would I do that deal. Jermaine is 29 and has shown an increasing issue with his knees. Sure, you could say the same about Kenyon Martin, but at least he appears to be heading in the other directionÂ – after playing in 71 games last year, as opposed to O’Neal’s 42. O’Neal also has high mileage, after coming to the NBA directly out of High School.
June 10th – Melo to Motown?
So exactly what is the chance of Denver Nuggets franchise star Carmelo Anthony taking his gig to Motown?
“I would say nothing is happening. The Nuggets are not trading Carmelo,” said Calvin Andrews.
“People are interested in Carmelo. People are smelling blood. There are a lot of rumors out there and a lot of talk is happening, so people feel like they got to get there bid in there too.”
“You can’t jump up and down every time people make inquiries. Our understanding is that no trade is happening.” — MyFox Colorado
My take… so, the rumor is that GM Dumars is willing to part with Piston core members Billups, Wallace, and Prince for Anthony, Camby, MartinÂ and a throw-in or two to even up the deal. That deal is really a proposal by local media member Woody Paige, but you get the idea for the type of deal that could be had this off-season.
This last one is actually tempting. I love Marcus Camby for the player that he is and for the contributions he brings to the community of Denver. He’s tough to part with, but his value is high and his name will be mentioned in many such deals this summer. Carmelo Anthony is Denver’s superstar and current future, but he has not shown that he’s willing to play defense, and at his position, it’s a hole that’s just too big to fill when the playoffs come around. I hate to give up on a 24 year old with so much potential, but the Piston core players live and breathe defense, and would change the face of the Nuggets. We’ll see how the summer plays out…